Ammann & Whitney has established itself as a firm with individuals who understand the nuances associated with preserving our nation’s infrastructure, especially our long span bridges. A particularly important aspect of preservation relates to the coating systems that protect bridges. Bridge coatings are the first line of defense our infrastructure has to resist the corrosive impacts of the elements. It is critical that existing coatings be evaluated and, when necessary, removed and replaced when they no longer function as an effective barrier.
Ammann & Whitney provides expertise for all stages of a bridge coating program. Beginning with inspection and evaluation, we record conditions and make recommendations for rehabilitation. During the design phase, we expand on our recommendations and prepare the documents that our clients use to put these contracts out to bid. These documents describe processes for removing existing coatings, the needs, methods and controls for containment of materials, which are often lead based, the design of containment systems, and the specifications for surface preparation and of the coatings to be applied. Our design teams are often busiest during the construction phase since, as paint is removed, underlying deterioration is often revealed and must be addressed quickly. Containment structures proposed by contractors and the capacity of the bridge to support these structures must be analyzed. Finally, our construction group is often called upon to monitor the contractor to ensure that containments are intact, surfaces are properly cleaned and prepared to receive new coatings, and coatings are applied in accordance with the specifications.
Our latest win, by the Long Span Bridge group, involves the painting of the Walt Whitman Bridge Suspension Span and Towers for the Delaware River Port Authority. Our services include an assessment of the condition of existing coatings, determination of toxic metal concentrations, containment design for the towers and stiffening trusses, coordination with state, federal and local environmental agencies, and the development of plans, specifications and estimates. Once all this is complete, construction begins and the hard part begins!